Quantcast

Group Asks SEC to Investigate Shell's Statements of Arctic Drilling Risks

Energy

Center for Biological Diversity

The Center for Biological Diversity today requested that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigate Royal Dutch Shell for potentially misleading statements about its readiness to drill in the Arctic Ocean for offshore oil. 

“Drilling for oil in the harsh Arctic environment presents serious risks to people and wildlife. In these conditions, Shell’s claims that it is ready to drill must be closely scrutinized,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center. “The BP spill caused tremendous damage to the environment and local communities, costing billions. Shell’s drilling in remote, icy waters—set to begin this summer—risks even more.”

Offshore oil drilling can lead to substantial costs and liability for accidents in extreme conditions. In its public statements about drilling off the coast of Alaska, Shell has claimed it can mechanically recover 95 percent of oil from open water. But the spill-containment device the company intends to use has yet to be tested or proven. After the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, only 3 percent of the spilled oil was mechanically recovered; after the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Prince William Sound, 8 percent of spilled oil was recovered mechanically.

“Shell asserts that it’s adequately prepared for drilling off Alaska, yet there’s no nearby Coast Guard station or other infrastructure in the Arctic for swift oil-spill response,” said Sakashita. “We’re worried about spoiling the Arctic’s pristine wildlife habitat and are concerned that Shell simply doesn’t have the ability to safely drill this summer in some of the world’s harshest waters, so we’ve asked the SEC to look into it.”

The letter notes potentially misleading statements by Shell about the condition of the Kulluk, the drill rig that it plans to use in the icy, stormy waters of the Arctic Ocean. Although the company said the drill rig was ready for use in 2010, an inspection report the following year found that it was unprepared for drilling and even lacked a blowout preventer, a key piece of equipment in stemming the flow of an oil spill. The Kulluk is currently being repaired in Seattle.

The Center’s letter urges the SEC to launch an investigation of Shell with regard to its Arctic drilling program. It follows a report released on April 12 by Lloyd’s of London describing the key risks of Arctic development, including a finding that an Arctic oil spill would present “multiple obstacles, which together constitute a unique and hard-to-manage risk.”

For more information, click here.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pixabay

By Lisa Wartenberg, MFA, RD, LD

Pears are sweet, bell-shaped fruits that have been enjoyed since ancient times. They can be eaten crisp or soft.

Read More Show Less
Photon-Photos / iStock / Getty Images Plus

The desert of Australia's Northern Territory has the iconic Ayers Rock, but not much else. Soon, it may be known as home to the world's largest solar farm, according to the Guardian.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
A Boeing 737-800 BCF (Boeing Converted Freighter) is marked "Prime Air" as part of Amazon Prime's freight aircraft during the 53rd International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport near Paris, France on June 22. Mustafa Yalcin / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

It's Prime Day! The day when thousands of increasingly absurd items are discounted so deeply that you suddenly need items you never knew existed. Yes, I do need a hotdog shaped toaster next to me while I watch this Fast & Furious seven movie box set! And I need it in my house today!

Read More Show Less

By Peter Sinclair

The weather in many areas across the U.S. has been – and certainly throughout America's heartland was for much of the past winter and spring – frightful.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
There's a short window between when a tick bites and when it passes on bacteria or virus. MSU Ag Communications, Courtesy Dr. Tina Nations, CC BY-ND

By Jerome Goddard

When it comes to problems caused by ticks, Lyme disease hogs a lot of the limelight. But various tick species carry and transmit a collection of other pathogens, some of which cause serious, even fatal, conditions.

Read More Show Less
tomosang / Moment / Getty Images

By Jessica A. Knoblauch

Say goodbye to one of the dreamiest things about childhood. In the Midwest, fireflies are dying off.

Read More Show Less
A new Climate Emergency Fund contains more than $625,000 which will go to grassroots climate action groups like Extinction Rebellion and students who have organized weekly climate strikes all over the world. @ExtinctionR / Twitter

By Julia Conley

Heeding the call of grassroots campaigners, several wealthy philanthropists announced Friday a new fund that will raise money for climate action groups around the world.

Read More Show Less